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In the 30-second ad, Smith is seen loading up a truck for his Water Box project, which is part of his 501CTHREE organization, and helps bring safe water to underserved communities.
“The campaign is full of what everyone does, and people ask me what I do,” the 22-year-old star tells Billboard. “I like to say that I like to help the world and I like to give back, so We Got Now campaign is featuring the Water Box, which is a project I’ve been working on for a long time with my cofounder of Just Water, Drew Fitzgerald.”
“The reason I wanted to do it is because I feel like it has a bigger message of We Got Now, like, the culture has now, the youth has now. The youth is going to take over and really change and bring something different for the future of the world,” he adds.
Smith has been a longtime advocate for safe, clean drinking water. Back in 2012, he and Fitzgerald launched Just Water, natural spring water packaged in a plant-based box. Later on, as the duo learned more about climate change, they unveiled 501CTHREE, “a new type of nonprofit for a younger generation focused on energy, food, water and shelter,” according to the website.
“The organization is all about giving back to the community and specifically serving the black and brown communities that are disproportionally affected by these issues,” Smith explains.
As to what sparked his interest in the importance of clean water, Smith connects it to learning how to surf. “I had one teacher tell me that the ocean was dying and another teacher that told me that it’s alive, so at that point, I really dove deep into the water and tried to figure out what was going on, which led me to realize that a lot of people don’t have access to clean water as they should,” he shares.
The star, who is set to release a new album later this year, stresses the importance of involvement in environmental efforts — especially from young people. “Now, I just feel like the world is more connected than it ever was,” he says. “We can now clearly view all the problems in the world and it’s really important to get involved because there’s going to be more problems in the world as we move into the future, and we can begin to mitigate future issues by problem solving now.”
“Pick something you’re interested in and go down the rabbit hole,” he advises. “You might find something that can change the world.”